DREAM Act Defeat Will Hurt Opponents

Republicans managed to defeat the DREAM Act, but it’s a victory that will haunt them.

The DREAM Act — the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act — died in the Senate on December 18, just five votes away from the 60 needed to advance.

The Republican Party once again demonstrated its disdain toward one of the most marginalized and vulnerable groups in this country: undocumented immigrants.

And let’s not forget the Democrats who voted against it. This group included Sens. Max Baucus of Montana, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Jon Tester of Montana.

If passed in Congress and signed into law by President Obama, the DREAM Act would have provided a pathway to citizenship to many undocumented individuals demonstrating a strong commitment toward higher education or service in the military.

I had several reservations with this bill, but not the same ones that the senators voting no had. I didn’t like the word “Alien” in the title; no human being is an alien. I didn’t like the fact that it would have induced young brown people to risk their lives in unjust wars like the one President Bush waged in Iraq. And I didn’t like the fact that it gave special treatment to those who attend college. An immigrant kid who doesn’t go to college still contributes to our society, after all.

Apart from my objections, this bill should have passed. It would have given hope and opportunity to immigrant children who came to this country at least five years ago — often as youngsters.

At the end of the day, while this is a short-term loss for Latinos in this country, in the long term, the Republicans and those conservative Democrats will pay a big price at the ballot box.

Alvaro HuertaThe browning of America is a reality that an aging white population needs to come to terms with. As the largest racial minority group in the country with a higher birth rate than the national average, Latinos will inevitably represent a majority in many key states.

Latinos are rising and demanding to be treated as human beings — with our without legal status. We want our children to have an equal shot at the American dream, and not experience an American nightmare.

Alvaro Huerta

Alvaro Huerta is a doctoral candidate at UC Berkeley’s department of city and regional planning and visiting scholar at UCLA’s Chicano Studies Research Center. He can be reached at pmproj@progressive.org.

Republished with permission from The Progressive.


  1. Bill Gibbons says

    Illegal immigrants is what they are and should be. Why should we show any sympathty towards these fence-jumpers when there are many others who are patiently waiting their turn to emigrate to the US legally? Send the illegals home. They are an unecessary burden on our welfare and healthcare services, not to mention our law enforcement agencies that are dealing with the ever burgeoning rise in ethnic crime (read: Arizona). There is an old adage:

    “Charity begins at home,” not in Mexico, Guatemala or anywhere else where the illegals originate.

  2. Joshua says

    Great idea, send them HOME, where they won’t be “the most marginalized and vulnerable groups in this country” they will be CITIZENS of theirs,another problem solved!

  3. Joe Weinstein says

    The article reads rather strangely. It speaks of an allegedly vulnerable and marginalized group, but its biggest claim for that group is that its supporters nonetheless have the power to strike back with a vengeance.

    Some comments read strangely too. What’s the point of complaining about the use of the word ‘undocumented’? The only way you legally prove that a given person (whether immigrant or not) is not legally in this country is to demand and not obtain satisfactory documents. So it is quite reasonable to speak of ‘undocumented’ persons – including people who are not immigrants but somehow lack or have been denied documents which establish their in-USA place of birth.

  4. Mad Jayhawk says

    I dislike the term undocumented immigrants. These people have entered the country uninvited illegally. They are illegal immigrants. What is wrong with that terminology? Undocumented seems to indicate that they didn’t take the time to fill out the proper paperwork or that their paperwork hasn’t been processed yet. Nothing could be further from the truth. They entered the country illegally – end of story. And usually as part of that criminal activity they engage in other criminal ventures such as identity theft.

    We understand why the Democratic Party has become the party in favor of criminal activity. They expect to grant these criminals amnesty at some point and turn them into faithful Democratic voters with the stroke of Obama’s pen. That is why some people call these people undocumented Democrats instead of undocumented immigrants. The Dream Act was a huge bag of worms for this country. Children who came here illegally with their parents should go back home and enroll in the fine universities in their own countries the stay and help their country. That should be their big Dream. These students are occupying spaces in this country’s universities that others, who are not criminals, could use to improve their chances at a good future.

  5. George A. Crackuh says

    This short essay is a perfect example of classic Latino racism, and the LA Progressive website should feel deep shame for publishing it.

    Of course, “undocumented” illegal aliens should not be marginalized. They should be excluded completely – deported. It’s immaterial what their skin color is or which direction they came from.

    Here we have, once again, a leftist drawing a fat government paycheck, who advocates breaking the laws of the government which shelters, protects and employs him.

    I’m sure Mr Huerta knows that the “DREAM” act is an express invitation to endless fraud and corruption, and is completely in favor of these shenanigans. It begins by excusing massive lawbreaking, and ensures its continuation.

    But he doesn’t seem to realize, as he advocates for his favored racial group, is that he is also supporting cultural destruction, public bankruptcy, and erosion of the meaning and value of citizenship and sovereignty.

    And he does this in a hateful and racist manner. Is this what modern liberalism has become? It’s an ugly sight to behold. Say it isn’t so, LAP.

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